Hundreds of students have gone through BLCI’s after school programs. We measure success not only by those who enroll in College, but also by the challenges they have overcome and the positive impact they are having on their families and their communities. We regularly update these stories, so please visit often.
UCSD 2023 – Double Major in Public Health and Latin American Studies
UC Berkeley 2023 – Double Major in English and Spanish
UC Berkeley 2023 – Major – Urban Studies; Minor(s) – Global Poverty and Practice, Creative Writing
USC 2022 – Majoring in Sociology with a minor in Legal Studies
SDSU 2021 – Chicano Chicana Studies
“BLCI has truly been the backbone for my educational retention and success. After graduating high school, I attended the San Diego Community Colleges in order to earn my Associate’s in Communication Studies, and Chicana & Chicano Studies. BLCI helped me navigate the transfer process, and provided me with the necessary tools and support to not only attain higher education but to be successful. I am so thankful for all the opportunities BLCI has given me and my family!
Currently, I am a senior at San Diego State University majoring in Chicana & Chicano Studies. In addition to my position as an ESL Instructional Assistant at Cesar Chavez Campus through San Diego Continuing Education, I am also working as an undergraduate research fellow with the Research and Equity Scholarship Institute on Student Trajectories in Education (RES-ISTE) under Dr. Herrera-Villarreal through the San Diego State University Research Foundation.
After completing my bachelor’s degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies, I plan to apply to graduate school in order to pursue a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs with an emphasis in Education Policy. I hope to one day be able to give back to my educational roots in Barrio Logan and to the community colleges as an academic advisor and professor.”
CSU Chico 2018 – Bachelor’s degree, Management Information Systems and Services
Zimrri joined BLCI when he was in third grade, and remained in the program until he graduated high school in 2014. Zimrri clearly remembers being eight years old and already knowing college was important and would change his life!
Zimrri earned a full ride to CSU Chico by putting in countless hours of work with BLCI tutors.
“It wasn’t a simple task, but I knew it was possible. Every day after school during my senior year, I would go to BLCI to work on my scholarship application writing. I would spend at least one to two hours on writing. After completing my writing, I had at least six people read and critique my stories. Jim, the writing tutor, said I probably wrote around 100 rough drafts. I lost count, I just knew I had to write. I was a finalist for the Gates Millennium, applied to 28 universities, and won enough scholarships to pay my four years. If it wasn’t for BLCI, my life would have been very different.
From connecting me with Qualcomm’s Hire-a-Youth program, to giving me the opportunity to go visit universities in the Bay Area, BLCI has opened many doors for me. BLCI is more than just an after-school program. It is a family, it’s my second home, and it’s a place where dreams become a reality.”
Today, Zimrri is a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer at a tech company in the Bay Area, and is committed to helping students in low-income communities break the cycle of poverty.
USD 2023 – Major in Environmental Studies; Minor in Business Administration.
“BLCI has been my support system since third grade. It has provided me endless opportunities for self-growth, efficient mentorship, and resources to thrive as a first-generation college student. Additionally, it challenged me to better myself as a student, activist, and person.
Today, I am an undergraduate at the University of San Diego, majoring in Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Politics and Law and minoring in Business Administration. I am serving my local community as a Portside steering committee member for the Community Air Protection Program (AB 617). I am also the Outreach Coordinator for Mundo Gardens, a non-profit organization that advocates for environmental justice in Central San Diego.
I plan to go to Graduate School for Law with an emphasis on Environmental Justice or Business Administration. I also want to create a Farmer’s market in Logan Heights to eliminate food deserts and provide healthy and affordable food options, while also informing the public about environmental injustices in low-income communities.”
Ashley continues to be involved with BLCI by connecting with current students and involving them in community projects she works on with Mundo Gardens and USD!
SDSU 2013 – B.A. in Religious Studies; Double minor in Communications and Chicana/o/x Studies.
USD – Master’s in Higher Education Leadership Studies
Sinai attended San Diego State University and received her BA in Religious Studies with a double minor in Communications and Chicana/o/x Studies. She later went on to receive her Master’s in Higher Education Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego. Sinai is currently working at UC San Diego supporting underrepresented students in STEM fields as an advisor, recruiter, and events coordinator. Sinai is also currently enrolled in her first year of UCSD’s Joint Doctoral Program with Cal State San Marcos in Education.
“BLCI supported me as I navigated being homeless in high school. The first time I boarded a plane was with BLCI on our Bay Area trip to tour universities. They opened up a world of possibilities that I didn’t know existed outside of San Diego. I am forever grateful because it gave me the courage to study abroad a semester in Italy. The relationships I developed within the organization provided me with the safety and stability that I needed to thrive as a student and a person. BLCI means familia. I’m always greeted with warmth and community and am eager to stay connected, volunteer, and give back.”
In July 2020, Sinai published “Pink Poems Tan Thoughts”, a collection of short stories and bilingual poems. Sinai donates 100% of the book profits to college scholarships for BIPOC student leaders from immigrant and refugee backgrounds.
SDSU 2017 – Bachelor’s degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution
“BLCI is a place I will forever call a second home. I probably ate more dinners at BLCI than in my own home for most of my school-age years. BLCI was a safe-haven, a place where I wasn’t judged for not understanding a math problem, where I went if I needed a distraction-free space to work on my essays. I come back every year and support families by offering presentations, interactive activities with the students; I was even an intern where I helped parents apply for jobs. Thank you BLCI for continuing to provide families not only support but a place where they feel at home.”
Stephanie obtained a bachelor’s degree in International Security and Conflict Resolution with a specialization in Environment and Security from San Diego State University in 2017. She was able to obtain enough scholarships in high school and through college, that she graduated debt-free. Stephanie is the now Transportation & Planning Program Manager at City Heights Community Development Corporation where she conducts transportation, planning, and environmental policy research. Stephanie is also an alumnus of the Aaron Price Fellows Program and a proud member of MANA de San Diego and City Heights Rotaract.